Har Gobind Khorana, the man who decoded our DNA

Har Gobind Khorana, the man who decoded our DNA

Khorana was born in Raipur, which is Kabirwala in present-day Pakistan. Through his experiments on nucleic acids-the lettered molecules that make up our genes-he unambiguously confirmed that the genetic code is composed of 64 distinct three-letter "words" that dictate the order of amino acids in proteins.

The artwork, created by Bangalore-based artist Rohan Dahotre, depicts Dr. Khorana (who passed away in 2011) in a black and white sketch alongside another cartoon of him in a laboratory. This is a representation of Dr. Har Gobind Khorana who today would have turned 96 years old. The couple had three children.Dr Khorana is also credited with construction of the first artificial gene in 1972.

According to DNAaftb.com, "Marshall Nirenberg, Har Gobind Khorana, and Robert Holley shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine". Scholarships helped propel the budding scientist through his scholastic journey, obtaining his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1948. His exact date of birth is unknown, but documents show January 9, 1922.

-Among his several recognitions, Khorana also received the Lasker Award for basic medical research and the National Medal of Science.

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Explains Encyclopedia.com, "In addition to developing methods for investigating the structure of the nucleic acids, Khorana introduced numerous techniques that allowed scientists to decipher the genetic code and show how ribonucleic acid (RNA ) can specify the structure of proteins".

Throughout his famed career, Khorana never lost touch with his modest beginnings, which infused him with a sense of humility that was admired by his colleagues. After his graduation and masters from Panjab University, Lahore Khorana moved to England for his doctoral studies at the University of Liverpool.

He was a professor at the University of British Columbia from 1952 to 1960, where he began his work on DNA research. He joined the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970, where he would remain until his retirement in 2007.

After completing his PhD, Khorana worked in Zurich, Switzerland for a year, and attained expertise in chemical synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids. He is survived by his children Julia and Davel.

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